Severe Power Cuts Will Last For Another Week Or Two Across Lebanon

A group of villages in northern Lebanon has had no electricity for over three weeks due to the repeated theft of the power lines that feed them.
Al-Akhbar/Marwan Tahtah

Much of Lebanon has recently been adjusting (or trying to) to pitch-black darkness as unusually long power-cuts have pushed people to return to candles and lanterns.

According to local media reports, this severe rationing can last for up to two weeks.

Despite power-cuts being a norm in Lebanon for decades, their scale and severity in recent days are nothing like what people are accustomed to.

From north to south,, several Lebanese cities and villages have been receiving no more than four hours of power coverage per day due to the scarcity of diesel fuel.

While “total darkness” is expected to engulf Lebanon this Sunday, which is when fuel reserves are expected to go dry, MP Nazih Najm expects the misery to last until July 15th.

Speaking to Al-Joumhouria, MP Najm, who heads Parliament’s Public Works, Water, and Energy Committee, said that three fuel shipments will have arrived in Lebanon by mid-July.

These shipments will be able to restore Lebanon’s power plants to their “normal” production rates, which are nevertheless insufficient (2,000MW) to keep up with the country’s demand (3,600MW).

Until then, hard rationing will be the answer to the fuel problem, followed by complete shutdown, unless, somehow, enough diesel fuel is secured before Sunday.

However, as per Al-Akhbar, the latter seems impossible to achieve. Of the “normal” 2,000MW, Lebanon is currently producing no more than 800MW, and the number is declining every day.

Notably, the trip of the expected shipments is not the only time-consuming part of resupplying the country’s generators with juice.

After a ship arrives (the first of the three is expected by Tuesday), it will take a few days for the fuel it carries to be transformed into power.

This is the time it takes to complete standard approvals and procedures, such as testing and unloading.

With that said, the second shipment should arrive a day after the first, and the last one will follow around five days later, i.e. by July 13th.

In other words, the Lebanese people across the country can expect continuous hours of blackouts up until a few days after the last shipment docks in Lebanon.

Meanwhile, diesel fuel smuggling to Syria continues and its black market price soars by the day, making it impossible for owners of private generators to keep up with the demand.

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